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Meeting with road engineers 'helpful', says Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant as safety study begins exploring a deadly stretch of the A9 on the Black Isle; the study will look at the road between Tore and North Kessock, including the infamous Munlochy junction

By Philip Murray

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Safety signs near the Munlochy junction on the A9. Picture: Google.
Safety signs near the Munlochy junction on the A9. Picture: Google.

A 'HELPFUL' meeting with road safety engineers has been welcomed by a Highland MSP, after she was able to give feedback on motorists' concerns over a notorious A9 blackspot.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, last week met virtually with Transport Scotland officials and representatives of WSP – the engineering consultants appointed to carry out a safety study of the A9 between North Kessock and Tore, including the Munlochy junction.

Speaking after the meeting Rhoda Grant said “Given the concerns that have been raised with me over recent months about the Munlochy junction, it was helpful to be able to speak with the engineering consultants and with officials of Transport Scotland directly about the study being undertaken.

“We are in the first phase of the process to examine the safety and operation of the road, the Case for Change phase, in line with Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG). This part of the study involves gathering evidence on problems and potential opportunities for change."

If the case for change is made, the study will then look at analytical and stakeholder input. Analysis will include looking at road safety and traffic patterns in the area, such as accident records and video footage showing how drivers typically interact with each other.

Viewing video evidence would also highlight ‘near misses’ and would be considered along with the actual accident stats and the volume and speed of traffic.

Mrs Grant continued: “While current traffic volume is not at usual pre-Covid levels at the minute, using the video evidence from the past will help to show the full picture, should the study progress to the next phase.

“I was able to directly feed in the concerns which constituents have raised with me over recent months and I advised of the concerns of traffic travelling north having to cross over two lanes of a busy dual carriageway as well as cars trying to get into the outside lane ahead of the junction, queuing traffic on the dual carriageway and the short slip roads out of the junction.

“Constituents are also fearful that nearby housing development will impact on an already busy stretch of road.”

Mrs Grant concluded: “With public transport links lacking in the north, people often have no other option but to use private cars, and it is imperative that we make sure they are safe to do that by improving these junctions up and down the A9.

“Anyone with concerns or views on this should contact me or their Community Council to ensure their views are fed in.”

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